MARC RACICOT served as Montana's governor from 1993-2001. He has roots that run very deep in Montana's colorful history. His ancestors came to the Montana Territory in the 1860's. Marc's grandfather arrived in Libby in 1917 to work as a logging camp cook in northwestern Montana for J. Neils Lumber Company. Marc Racicot was born to Bill and Pat Racicot on July 24, 1948, in Thompson Falls.
Marc grew up, first in Miles City and then in Libby. His parents opened their home to foster children, taking in nearly 50 youngsters over time and formally adopting two: Phillip and Aimee, to join Marc, Tim, Larry, Pat and Chris in their home on Larch Street.
Under the guidance of his father, a teacher and high school basketball and track coach, Marc was a starter on the Libby High School basketball team. During his senior year in 1966, Marc led the team to its first and only state basketball championship. Marc also played basketball in Helena for Carroll College. At Carroll, Marc was elected student body President and in 1970 set a record for most assists in a basketball game, 32. That record still stands.
While at Carroll, Marc worked summers for the Highway Department, mapping county roads and railroad crossings across the state. This gave Marc his first opportunity to see Montana corner to corner and to meet many individuals who remain good friends. During college, Marc also worked in the Capitol print shop and as a dishwasher, cook and line runner in the college cafeteria. He graduated in 1970 with a degree in English and later that year married Theresa Barber, a Carroll student from Big Timber, Montana. Soon after, Marc enrolled in the University of Montana Law School in Missoula, receiving his Juris Doctorate degree in 1973.
As an Army ROTC graduate, Marc was immediately assigned to the Judge Advocate General's Corps and stationed in West Germany where he served as chief prosecutor for the largest U.S. military jurisdiction in Europe. While there, he also managed to teach business and criminal law for the University of Maryland.
After three years, Marc was discharged from the Army as a captain, returning to Montana in 1976 where he became deputy county attorney for Missoula County. There, Marc established the Missoula Drug Treatment Program for people with substance abuse problems. In 1977, Marc became a state Assistant Attorney General, as well as Montana's first Special Prosecutor, handling major cases for county attorneys across the state. In 1980 he ran for chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court, but was unsuccessful. He also ran for district judge in Lewis & Clark and Broadwater counties in 1982 and 1984, respectively, but was also defeated.
From 1977 to 1988, Marc travelled across the state prosecuting scores of cases with a conviction rate of 95 percent. He lost only two cases in twelve years. One notorious case was State vs. Don and Dan Nichols, the "mountain men" convicted of abducting Kari Swenson, an Olympic athlete, and murdering a would-be rescuer.
Marc was elected Attorney General in 1988 and took office in January, 1989. He planned to run for re-election in 1992. However, Governor Stan Stephens (R) took ill and withdrew from the race. Marc sought the Republican nomination with Lieutenant Governor Dennis Rehberg, a Billings area rancher. After winning a hard-fought primary campaign, the men ran a successful general election race that led to a narrow 51 percent victory in November, 1992. Marc Racicot was sworn in as Montana's 20th Governor on Jan. 4, 1993.
In 1996, he sought re-election to a second and final term, with Judy Martz, a Butte businesswoman, as his running mate. On Nov. 5, 1996, they were overwhelmingly elected with 80 percent of the vote, the largest winning percentage for a Governor in Montana’s history and the largest winning percentage for any U.S. Governor in 1996.
As Governor, Marc sought to improve government efficiency and bring government services closer to its owners, the people. He favored reducing government wherever possible and eliminated two executive departments. The Governor's Office staff was reduced to about half of the staff it had in 1977.
After working with the Legislature to eliminate a $200 million deficit in 1993, the Racicot Administration helped produce a $22.4 million budget surplus in 1995. At the Governor's request, the Legislature approved refunding the money to state taxpayers as tangible proof the state kept its budgetary bargain with the people of Montana to live within its means.
Some of Marc's hobbies include running, carpentry and gardening. Marc has served on the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National Service and on the Board of Directors for United Way. He has been a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Montana Law School and was a member of the Board of Trustees at Carroll College from 1989-1993. Marc and his wife Theresa have five children: Annie, Tim, Mary Catherine, Theresa Rose and Joe.
Marc currently serves as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Nominated by President George W. Bush, he was unanimously elected to this position in January 2002.